“Zhamanak” reports that during his latest visit to Nagorno-Karabakh President Serzh Sarkisian was conspicuously accompanied by ZoriBalayan, a pro-establishment intellectual who has raised eyebrows in Yerevan and Stepanakert with a recent open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin. In that letter, Balayan urged Russia to become a guarantor of Karabakh’s security and even take over the territory. The idea was backed by some pro-government politicians and public figures but condemned by a larger number of prominent individuals mostly critical of the Armenian government.
“The fact that Serzh Sarkisian went to Karabakh frontline positions together with Balayan after this letter means that he is effectively endorsing and expressing his solidarity with Balayan’s message to Putin,” “Zhamanak” notes with alarm. “In essence, Balayan has no official status that would allow him to accompany Serzh Sarkisian. His presence there was bizarre.”
“168 Zham” reports that parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian organized on Wednesday an emergency meeting between Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian, Justice Minister Hrayr Tovmasian and several parliament deputies, including Nikol Pashinian. The paper says Sarkisian and Tovmasian defended prison authorities’ refusal to allow Pashinian to visit any of the 14 individuals arrested and charged in connection with the November 5 clashes in Yerevan between riot police and anti-government protesters. It says Davit Harutiunian, the pro-government chairman of the Armenian parliament’s committee on legal affairs, vehemently argued with Tovmasian at the meeting, saying an Armenian law gives Pashinian and any other lawmaker unfettered access to jailed individuals.